Exciting Knaresborough concert to mark legend Blind Jack’s anniversary

Backing feva - Harrogate Mayor and Knaresborough Councillor Anne Jones at the Blind Jack bench in Knaresborough.
Backing feva - Harrogate Mayor and Knaresborough Councillor Anne Jones at the Blind Jack bench in Knaresborough.

Knaresborough’s most historic figure has had a road named after him recently - and a beer - and also been the focus of a football match.

But now the town's feva featival is to present a major concert this weekend in honour of the 300th anniversary of the great man’s birth.

Entitled John Metcalf, Man of Vision, ths musical extravaganza this Saturday, August 12 at St John’s Church at 7.30pm will bring together six local choirs for a musical journey through the extraordinary and colourful life and times of John ‘Blind Jack’ Metcalf.

The highlight of the concert will be the opportunity to hear this legendary road builder and adventurer’s original violin playing authentic music in the church close to where he was born.

The concert, under music director Mark Hunter, will feature a variety of instrumental and vocal music of the period, as well as some more modern items and a world premiere performance of a new piece, Epitaph for Blind Jack, written especially for the occasion by local composer Brian Hoare.

Performers include St John’s Choir, Voix Celestes, Cadenza, Knaresborough Choral Society, St Mary’s RC Church Choir and Knot Another Choir with the Honest Singers from Musselborough.

Tickets will be available on the door, with doors opening at 7pm, but to be sure of the best view, audience members are being advised to advance book seats in the central part of the nave.

The celebrations in and around the historic parish church continue this Sunday when the FEVA Choral Eucharist at 10.30am, features Mozart’s magnificent Coronation Mass (K317) performed by St John’s Choir and friends. Admission is free.

At 2.30pm there will be high tea and some beautiful music at the Old School House on Church Lane in the company of Cadenza Singers.

In the evening at 7.30pm in St John’s Knaresborough Pro Musica reveal their sentimental side with a veritable feast of romantic classics, appearing alongside the award-winning Cassia String Quartet.

l In an interesting aside, Blind Jack’s fame is clearly spreading.

Known as the ‘Bard of Saltaire’, poet, playwright, and songsmith Eddie Lawler has written a play to celebrate the 300th anniversary in collaboration with Shipley Little Theatre to be performed at the Saltaire Festival before a tour of Yorkshire in September.